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For all of the information contained in “The
Ultimate Baseball Road Trip: A Fan’s Guide To Major League Stadiums“,
authors Josh Pahigian and Kevin O’Connell fail to answer the one question I had
while reading this book.
And that, of course, is how they persuaded a publisher to
pay for this venture. THAT is something I want to know.
But that said, this book isn’t short on information about
any ballpark destination you may have, at least any ballpark that opened before 2004. Josh and Kevin traveled across the country and visited all 30 major
league ballparks in 2003. At least I’m guessing it was mostly 2003, the book does
include chapters for Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and Petco Park in San
Diego, both of which opened in 2004. If there’s one regret they may have, it’s
that they didn’t go on this trip in 2012, when the only stadium left to replace
will be Oakland’s.
There is a chapter dedicated to each ballpark; in each
chapter the reader learns some of the history of the team, where and how to get
a good seat, how to get to the ballpark, some places to eat or drink at before
and after the game, some features of the ballpark, and some comments on the
overall experience. Overall each of these is covered pretty well; if there’s an
obstructed view seat, they’ll probably let you know about it. They’ve even
ranked each stadium’s hot dogs, with San Diego’s as the worst, while Oakland of
all places produced the best. A matter of opinion of course, but still fun.
All of this, I can tell you from experience, would be
painstaking work if it were actual work. They obviously enjoyed doing it as
much as I do.
And for the most part Josh and Kevin have done a terrific job.
This book would be very handy if you were going on a trip to four or five or
more ballparks as a vacation. It’s also an enjoyable read for any baseball fan on its own.
It is all written in an easily readable style, as if they
were talking to you and giving you the scoop in a non-condescending way,
occasionally interrupted with eye-rolling jokes shared between the two.
If I had a complaint about the book if would be that there’s
just a tad of braggadocio in it; for example, the introduction asserts that “You
hold in your hand the best guide on the market for the kind of road trip you’re
envisioning”. True, probably, although you could substitute the word “only” for “best”. Which isn’t their fault, of course. Still, this is a minor complaint. I received this book as a Christmas gift, and haven’t spent a minute
wishing I’d asked for something else.
If the publisher were willing to pay for an updated version
in order to include Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Busch Stadium, Nationals Park, Target
Field, the new ballpark for the Marlins that opens next year and the renovated
Kauffman Stadium and U.S. Cellular Field, I wouldn’t say they hadn’t earned the
right. This stuff changes constantly, as I well know.
So while adding the shameless plug for comparison; The Ultimate
Baseball Road Trip is very good for that, a road trip. The book doesn’t go into
the detail that a Ballpark E-Guide
does, and the reader probably won’t learn much new about his own home ballpark, but then they don’t have the luxury of updating things for the reader like I
do. But even with eight of the chapters in this book becoming dated, it’s still
a worthwhile purchase.
Take it from someone who is insanely jealous of the authors.